Protect Ukraine Protest, Washington DC / 26 Feb 2022 / Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

What Defines a NATO Country?

Depending on your definition, Russian aggression is the best NATO accelerant

Johnny Silvercloud
4 min readFeb 6, 2024

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Question: what makes a NATO country? This question is a fitting place to start, is it not? Is it specific characteristics such as military equipment for a common defense? Or is it a formal declaration made?

Because if being a NATO country doesn’t require a formal declaration, then Ukraine is functionally a NATO nation. And Russia made them as such.

Let’s talk about it.

NATO is an agreement of various nations to protect each other if aggression is inflicted upon one of the member groups. This agreement will include a shared weapons trade, which ranges from sharing the same family of bullets for hand-held weapons to massive arms deals such as procuring NATO-associated tanks, aircraft, anti-air defense, field artillery, armored personnel carriers, and various forms of intelligence collection technologies. This security alliance also includes the sharing and access of military training between member nations.

From my standpoint, NATO is a security alliance — a team of nations who, while having their own issues and identities, are supposed to team up against a common threat- kind of like the Avengers in Marvel Comics.

I have a lot of protester friends who speak nearly from a pro-Russian standpoint. They like to argue that they are anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism in their critique, but if you wave that gun only at America, you’re objectively just anti-American, or anti-NATO. I hate the term “anti-American”, but it fits when someone uses a principle only in America and no one else.

These folks also tend to argue against NATO's existence. They argue that sense the Warsaw Pact no longer exists, so should NATO. Overall, didn’t America agree to never expand NATO?

This agreement to never expand NATO never happened. Even if this agreement did exist, Russia would have definitely preferred to have that in writing. Even further, if a nation wanted to join NATO because of the security alliance aspect, what’s to stop them? Warfare and violence? Isn’t preventing war the reason why folks join NATO? Kinda circular, isn’t it?

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Johnny Silvercloud

20 yr U.S. Army vet turned analytical street photographer who talks about power, protest, and politics. Do not defend racism or sexism when I’m in the room.